‘The biggest funding boost for schools in a decade,’ is the headline on the latest propaganda from the Department for Education media machine.
This claim has already been rebutted by the fact-checking organisation Full Fact, the Education Policy Institute and the Institute for Fiscal Studies. The IFS concluded the £14bn figure is ‘somewhere between meaningless and misleading’.
The ‘extra’ is not what it seems to be. And it comes after years of education cuts. An earlier IFS analysis said per pupil funding in England had fallen by 8% in real-terms since 2009/10.
The government’s claim about extra funding for schools in England has been shown to be disingenuous. But it hasn’t stopped the DfE from repeating it.
Beneath the hype, the DfE has given the game away. The last sentence of the triumphant blog says:
‘The IFS has said that this investment will restore schools’ funding to previous levels in real terms per pupil by 2022-23.’
An admission, then, that the boost isn’t a boost at all. It’s only going to return school funding to levels last seen a decade ago. And it that won’t happen until 2022/23.
From 2010 to 2019, schools have been expected to manage on less. From today until 2022/23, they will still be expected to manage on less. The extra £14bn is less a boost than a trickle of fuel in a tank already near empty.
UPDATE: 16 October 1300: The Office for Statistics Regulation has said the £14bn has the potential to mislead, Schools Week reports. The UK Statistics Authority has also welcomed a move by the NEU to remove a School Cuts claim from its website that 'many schools will receive less' than the promised £5k per secondary pupil after UKSA found flaws in the methodology. It would have been better if School Cuts could have explained their calculation before publishing figures which showed funding was even worse than it actually is. The truth is sufficient proof without exaggerating.